J. Blanton Belk

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It was a turbulent time in the mid-60s: We were in the midst of a cold war; America was being torn apart with racial strife and deeply divided over the Vietnam War; and there was a worldwide eruption of youth, demanding a voice in their affairs and the affairs of their countries. The only policy seemed to be, “How quickly can we shut them up?” J. Blanton Belk thought that if we could harness that energy and give them a positive voice it might touch the world.

This is the story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary vision. J. Blanton Belk was born and educated in the South, the son of a dedicated Presbyterian minister, who urged him “to search for ways to make your biggest possible contribution with your life in the world.” The opportunity came in 1965 at a gathering of international young people who cobbled together a rough musical demonstration and Sing Out/Up with People was born. A journey had begun, one that is still today bringing hope and spirit to a troubled world.

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